Slinger, Wis., July 12—With $20,000 on the line, the gloves came off Tuesday night during the WABAM Slinger Nationals presented by Pepperjack Kennels and Cobblestone Hotels at the Slinger Speedway as budding rivals Ty Majeski and Luke Fenhaus traded paint late in the 200-lap feature allowing William Byron to slip by and claim the victory.
The intense battle for the lead between Majeski and Fenhaus with less than fifteen laps to go had both cars sideways numerous times as Byron methodically worked the outside lane to try to pass both of them. Byron scraped the wall twice himself in his efforts which finally paid off with 13 laps to go when the Fenhaus and Majeski cars got out of shape enough to let the visiting NASCAR Cup Series star clear both for the lead as California standout Derek Thorn closed in to join the lead trio. With Byron scooting ahead out front, Fenhaus was able to take over second after the struggling Majeski was cleared out following a shot from Thorn who advanced into third. In the final laps, Fenhaus closed in slightly on Byron but was unable to mount a serious challenge as Byron drove under the checkered flag for the win followed by Fenhaus and Thorn. Austin Nason finished fourth and NASCAR Hall of Famer Matt Kenseth charged from the tail of the field to finish fifth. Florida hot shoe Stephen Nasse equaled his best showing in the Nationals by finishing sixth while Jeremy Lepak was seventh. Casey Johnson finished eighth while Jeff Storm finished ninth in his Slinger Nationals debut. Jacob Nottestad turned a lot of heads by leading the opening 88 laps before settling into a tenth place finish in his first crack at the Nationals. Ty Majeski exited the speedway with seven laps to go with mechanical issues and finished 13th.
“I’m out of breath and I don’t think I’ve ever driven that hard,” an excited Byron told the crowd from victory lane, “The guys did a great job at the halfway break as we were really loose in the first segment. Ty (Majeski) and Luke (Fenhaus) were doing such a good job on the bottom I felt like they got a little bit checked up and I was like I have to try the top and see if I can at least get to their door.”
“The first time I got there I hit the wall a little bit and I actually caught the wall about six times,” Byron continued, “I was able to work the top in turns one and two and three and four was OK as long as I could get off turn four but man, that was fun.”
“It was tough and we were just beating and banging for 100 laps,” Fenhaus stated afterwards, “It sucks we raced Ty (Majeski) like that but he would have done the same thing for $20,000 and I think he would’ve got me back if Thorn wouldn’t have pushed him out of the way. That kind of saved me and got me out to second and then we just had to finish the race.”
“We just survived,” Thorn said after his third place result, “We were able to come on there at the end and had good speed. We unfortunately couldn’t chase the leaders down but at least we had a fighting chance.”
“It is what it is,” Majeski stated after leading a race high 97 laps before his intense battle with Fenhaus, “Luke (Fenhaus) has a ton of talent and he will win a lot of races. He had the best car and I thought if he would have played his cards right he would’ve won the race but he didn’t.”
Brad Keith won the 30-lap super late model qualifying race over Stephen Nasse and Jeremy Lepak as they along with fourth place finisher Jeff Storm advanced into the main event. Andrew Morrissey won the 30-lap semi-feature to also advance into the show along with second place finishing Kyle Crump who made the trip to Slinger from Michigan. Dave McCardle, Lowell Bennet, and Derek Kraus rounded out the top five finishers in the semi-feature. William Byron was the fastest qualifier after turning in a lap time of 11.244 seconds.
Brad Mueller won the 40-lap Midwest Truck Series feature by holding off Aaron Moyer and James Swan at the finish. Kevin Zielezinski drove to a fourth place finish and Jeff Holtz was fifth. Eugene Gregorich led some laps on his way to a sixth place result ahead of Kody Hubred in seventh and Chris Blawat who rebounded from a earlier spin to finish eighth. James Lynch and Dylan Schwanbeck finished ninth and tenth respectively.
Chester Ace was the winner of the Midwest Truck Series semi-feature over Ryan Braseth and Evan Hassler. Alex Braseth finished fourth to claim the final transfer spot into the main event and Brandon Reichenberger finished fifth. Mike Meyerhofer took top honors in qualifying after putting down a lap in 12.088 seconds.